My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit — not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength — that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:14-19 (MSG)

Faith.

This can be a strange word. It’s almost like you have to have it in order to understand it. It’s all or nothing. You can’t stand on top of a bridge with a bungee cord around your legs and say, “I’m going to jump off this bridge to see if I have faith that this cord will hold me and not send me, instead, plummeting to the rocks below.” No, you jump because you already have faith in the cord’s ability to hold you. The jumping is the proof that you know you will be caught by the bungee. Otherwise, you would not jump. Right?

Unless…

You jump because you have exhausted every other option and you have nothing left, nowhere else to place your faith and you are desperate. Perhaps faith is also like someone running towards a cliff, fleeing an avalanche. They see a rope at the edge of the cliff, they grab it and jump; without time to think of whether or not it was attached to anything, whether or not it was rotten or frayed. They see the rope for what it is, a last ditch effort for salvation.

Bob Utley says: "Physical reality is known by the five senses, and is not eternal, but fleeting. True, eternal reality is unseen and; therefore, must be held by faith, not sight. However, it is so real and true to believers that it controls and demands their priorities."

In the book of Mark 5 we see a woman who, after 12 years of failure to heal her body’s illness, the pressing awareness that she was getting worse instead of better and the exhaustion of all of her finances, desperately threw her doubts, brokenness, suffering, rejection and hopes at the cliff’s edge/feet of Jesus. She reached for the hem of His garment and jumped, saying, “If I only touch His garments, I shall be restored to health,” and in her reckless abandon, she was healed. That day, the glory of Christ was seen, not only in her healing but also in her faith. Her good was found not only in her body’s mending but also in her faith’s affirmation.

Whether a calculated jump or a last-minute launch of faith, His glory will ALWAYS be for our good.

Pieces
Andrew Belle
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Chill afternoons call for chill tunes. Here’s one I thought I’d share.

I’m becoming more aware of God’s UNEXPLAINABLY perfect timing and His piecing together the seemingly random failures and successes of my life into one extraordinary #glorystory for Him. When I rededicated my life to Christ in January, I knew absolutely NOTHING of the doors that would open for me. But I had yet to realize that in order to walk through those doors of opportunity, I would need to step forward, again and again and again, in complete, UNBREAKABLE faith. So I have. And despite my mishaps along the way, heartbreaking as they were and sometimes still are, praise is and shall remain on my tongue. Psalms 34:9 says, “Worship God if you want the best; worship opens doors to all his goodness.” My time with @elevationworship has not only intensified my passion for leading a life that is anchored 24/7 in Jesus… but also ignited a fervor to see people IMPROVED, their lives TRANSFORMED, and their callings CLARIFIED through the physical act of worship and also engaging DAILY in the lifestyle of a true worshiper who places the Lord foremost, “walks the talk” (i.e. lives out the Word), expects incredible acts of genuine faith and love, and honors God with every thought, word and action. Once a person develops a heart that seeks more of God, the “luxuries” of this world and the desire for them fall away. Not that they become less luxurious… it’s just the ULTIMATE SOLUTION to their entire life of battling hurt, disappointment, discontentment, dissatisfaction, doubt and indecision, wanting more, needing more, etc. is God. BECAUSE SEEKING GOD IS SEEKING ONLY THE MOST EXCELLENT… something the world is incapable of ever offering. Something that dream job, alcohol, substance abuse, sex, riches, you-name-it could NEVER offer. The simplicities of life are more beautiful when layers of false hope, shallow happiness, and meaningless busyness are washed away by the blood of Jesus. And that’s just it: Life has become so much more beautiful, simple, MEANINGFUL. All because every layer of crap up until this moment has been cleansed… forgiven and forgotten. All through FAITH… resurrendering to God, reaccepting Christ… believing that His work at the cross was true. Moving forward, I can approach His throne boldly knowing that my “sins are covered.” This was our anthem last night during rehearsal. It was a battle cry that arose after 2 hours of flowing in God’s presence. Sure, my keys and @anthonyj_torres’s drums were ON POINT… but the promises @vsteez_e, @amandajenelle, @brizzle21, Josh and I would sing out during builds were INDESCRIBABLE. Grateful to worship on stage alongside this crew. And stoked to lead my church family into God’s presence this weekend!

This thing that is
but we often cannot see.
Too close for us to see the magnitude,
the glory of this structure.
We often see the detail
but not the stretching, sweeping scale of the thing.

It wraps us up.
Holds us.
So we consider it gentle. Warm. Kind.
We do not see, though, the violent nature.
The wrath and hate for the converse… our sin.

We do not see the scale.
We touch what is visible through our tunnel eyes and say “grace.”
But we see only a fragment of the grand, scandalous tapestry
that God has woven together over time.

The fabric of the world itself.
The very reason the stars are strung together.
When we choose to put one foot in front of the next, it’s grace.

This gracious glory buried within us,
beating on our ribs to speak of his wonder.
With this touch, life is given.

The giver’s love is this cloak.
This sea of blue green forgetfulness. This face of majesty.
The crackling, roaring thunder.

Grace, his sound.
Glory, his bright display.
Breaks and creates. And finds us. And we’re found.

The split curtain. The opened back.
The mingling blood and water.
The flood that destroys the world we’ve built.
All the earth submitting to his power.

The Cross.

Grace wrapped in triumphant glory.
He is the eyes-shut embrace. The driving rain.
The wind blows; but only at his word.

And this same fury, this sin-thrashing storm…
is the tempest that bows to wash our feet.
And this same fury, this sin-thrashing storm…
is the tempest that bows to wash our feet.

On Our Way
The Royal Concept
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Today screams Royal Concept [who, by the way, will be performing at Amos’ Southend in Charlotte on March 19], so I dedicate this song to my returning to Tumblr. Yes, I’m back. And yes, I’ll update often. Cheers!

But it’s also true that the person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing. All we know about the future is that it will be different. But perhaps what we fear is that it will be the same. So we must celebrate the changes.

Evelyn Greenslade from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Can you make money and be religious? The Obama administration and a few courts have said no — at least in the context of forcing business owners to violate their religion by purchasing abortion-inducing drugs for their employees. Thankfully, most courts have rejected this view, leaving individuals and their businesses free to go to work without checking their conscience at the door.

Image: http://en.paperblog.com/fun-with-fido-tips-for-an-active-summer-with-your-dog-246397

If you regularly perform gym workouts of 30-60 minutes, you’re operating in the sweet spot of healthy, life-extending exercise, say experts. According to a study featured in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, competing in extreme endurance events like marathons can lead to “Phidippides cardiomyopathy,” a dangerous heart condition named after the original Greek marathoner who collapsed and died after running 26.2 miles.

"Physical exercise, though not a drug, possesses many traits of a powerful pharmacologic agent," researcher James H. O’Keefe, MD, told HealthDay. "However, as with any pharmacologic agent, a safe upper-dose limit potentially exists, beyond which the adverse effects of physical exercise, such as musculoskeletal trauma and cardiovascular stress, may outweigh its benefits."

O’Keefe’s study found that 12% of marathon runners had patch myocardial scarring in the atria, interventricular septum, and right ventricle, and an increased susceptibility to atrial and ventricular arrhythmias, despite being otherwise healthy.

Says O’Keefe: “Physically active people are much healthier than their sedentary counterparts. Exercise is one of the most important things you need to do on a daily basis. But what this paper points out is that a lot of people do not understand that the lion’s share of health benefits accrue at a relatively modest level. Extreme exercise is not really conducive to great cardiovascular health. Beyond 30-60 minutes per day, you reach a point of diminishing returns.

While occasionally testing yourself in extreme endurance events is not harmful if you’re healthy, regular extreme exercise can be tough on your heart. As another famous Greek once put it: “Moderation in all things.”